Black Forest Cake – Holly & Jolly (but not Boozy)

Happy post-Thanksgiving ya’ll! Who doesn’t love this time of year where everyone is joining in on the gluttony of the holidays? To guild the lily & since we’re full steam ahead towards Christmas now, this black forest cake must be on the to-do list. I made it for this year’s Thanksgiving feast (sorry pumpkin pie!) and it was a hit all around, including the children (hence the absence of any booze). If you can’t find Kirsch or any type of cherry brandy in your area, I highly suggest using some almond extract because the sweet aroma highlights the cherry flavor. This is in fact a black forest cake, so there must be cherries, chocolate, and whipped cream galore! Enjoy!



adapted from

Makes 1- 8 inch (20 cm) cake

Marinated Morello cherries and syrup

  • 24 oz. Morello cherries packed in a light syrup
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (or 1-2 tablespoons of Kirsch)

Drain the cherries and reserve 1/2 cup of the syrup. Set cherries aside over a strainer to continue to drain. For decoration, you can reserve some cherries for the top of the cake. Place the 1/2 cup of syrup in a small saucepan and add sugar. Heat over medium heat and stir until sugar is melted. Remove from heat and add either the almond extract or alcohol. Set aside.

Chocolate Genoise Cake

  • 1/3 cup (35 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup (135 g) granulated white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (42 g) unsalted butter, melted and warm

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly grease a 8 in (20 cm) round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whip together eggs and sugar on high speed until light, pale yellow, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. When the beaters are lifted up from the batter, the batter should fall back in a ribbon. Mix in vanilla. Then sift over the flour mixture again in two stages and gently fold each addition without deflating the batter. Take about 1 cup of batter and whisk into melted and warm butter to lighten the mixture. Fold into remaining batter. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely on a baking rack. Meanwhile, prepare whipped cream.

Chantilly Whipped Cream

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, very cold
  • 3 tablespoons (35 g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Stir all ingredients together on medium speed, and when the cream begins to thicken and there are slight tracks left from the beaters, increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks. Place about 1/4 of the mixture into a piping bag for decorative piping, if desired.


  • chocolate curls or toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Once the cake has cooled, slice in half and place one cake layer down on a serving plate. Brush each layer with about 1/4 cup of the syrup or until the top has an even coating. Spread about 1 cup of whipped cream over the bottom layer of the cake. Distribute cherries on top in a single layer. Place other cake layer with syrup-side down on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over the top and down the sides of the cake. Pipe rosettes on the top of the cake and decorate with reserved cherries, chocolate curls, and/or sliced almonds. Enjoy!





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